Sunday, January 29, 2023

´We were quite lucky´ – Ten Hag wants Man Utd to be ´smarter´ after Bournemouth win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jan 2023

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Manchester United must become “smarter” after benefitting from good fortune in Tuesday’s comprehensive 3-0 win against Bournemouth, according to Erik ten Hag.

United moved level with third-placed Newcastle United in the Premier League table – as well as five points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham – as Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford got on the scoresheet at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils look well set to push on for a top-four finish after winning four consecutive league games either side of the World Cup break.

But having seen David de Gea make fine saves to deny Philip Billing and Jaidon Anthony when United were 2-0 up, Ten Hag was frustrated by what he perceived to be a lack of control.

“I’m happy with the result. Today it was not our best game,” he told BBC Sport. “We have to be honest, we didn’t play that smart as a team.

“We made great goals, but at times we were quite lucky, and we had some great saves from David. We could have been smarter as a team.

“There were big spaces at 2-0 up, sometimes we have to keep the ball and recognise when to go for goal. That is the next step.”

In-form forward Rashford was reintroduced to United’s line-up, having scored the winner from the bench at Wolves on Saturday after his late arrival for a team meeting led to him being dropped.

After rounding off the victory with his late tap-in, Rashford has now scored in three successive Premier League games.

“It was, once again, a great performance from him,” Ten Hag said of Rashford.

“I said before the season, and the same with [Anthony] Martial, I believe in the goals because the [other] players will always create, so focus from minute one and the chances will come.”

United’s next two Premier League fixtures pit them against title contenders Manchester City and Arsenal, but Ten Hag is reluctant to look beyond Friday’s FA Cup third-round tie against struggling Everton, who might well have a new manager should Frank Lampard be dismissed following a 4-1 humbling at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion.

“We have to go from game to game. The next game is a cup one, but we want to win every game. That has to be the approach,” he added.

“We don’t want to look any further ahead, we’ll focus on that, it will be a tough game. We need every energy in the preparations and when we kick off on Friday.”

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